The legendary debut album from Texas’ infamous thrash metal innovators has been at last reissued, with an added bonus track for fans (the punk-tinged “Spivey”). Originally released way back in 1988, Rigor Mortis (whose members would later go on to further notoriety with bands like Gwar and Ministry) dared to fuse ultra-speedy thrash metal with their gore movie fascination. Tracks like “Wizard Of Gore” or “Re-Animator” hold their inspirations proudly on their sleeves, and they obviously had a lot of fun doing it. Kudos for not taking themselves too seriously.
Coming around at roughly the same time as Slayer, Rigor Mortis mined much the same territory, never receiving quite the acclaim as their Bay Area brothers, but producing at least as heavy a din. Production on “Rigor Mortis” is clean, thanks to Skinny Puppy producer Dave Ogilvie’s mix, but the real treat here is the band’s skill at lightning-fast, yet clean instrumentation. Vocalist Bruce Corbitt has a raspy growl, but it never gets to the point of going all “Cookie Monster”, and guitarist Mike Scaccia had some of the speediest guitar riffs I have ever heard. This is old-school thrash metal, pure and unadulterated, and one of the genre’s most beloved templates.
Unequivocally a big influence on many a death metal act, Rigor Mortis’ debut is a recording that may not get it’s full due, but certainly has a place in many a metalhead’s heart.